The health benefits of saunas are well established, but paying for one to be installed at home is a luxury many can’t afford. However, if you want to save yourself some cash, there’s another solution – DIY. Sound interesting? Then read on for our top 21 sauna building ideas.
1. Wood-Fired Sauna
Let’s start with a plan from one of our favorite sites, Instructables. Whenever we want inspiration for a DIY project, this site is always one of our first stops, and here we have a plan for a DIY sauna.
As always on this site, you’ll find clear instructions, useful photos and a logical progression from the planning stage to the completion of the project.
As the author explains, this is a sauna that is designed to be comfortable for up to four people, and if that’s what you’re looking for, this could be a great plan to attempt.
2. Convert a Shed into a Sauna
If you have an old shed or other outside building you don’t use, you don’t need to build a sauna from scratch – you can just convert the structure that’s already there.
If that sounds like something that could save you a lot of hard work, here’s a plan you can follow to get it done. There’s useful info in there about the materials they used, the insulation techniques and much more.
They claim that this conversion cost them $1,000, which is very reasonable – and it’s a whole lot cheaper than paying someone to come and build one for you.
3. Turn a Shed into A Sauna – Video
If you like the idea of turning your shed into a sauna and you’re looking for more ideas to inspire your project, don’t forget to check out this video, too.
We like the attention to detail that goes into the planning – for example, this guy doesn’t forget the small touches like including a waterproof speaker in his design so he can listen to music when he’s using it.
We like the way this video shows the development of the sauna from start to finish – and also the way it looks so professional when it’s done.
4. DIY Cedar Barrel Sauna
There so much to love about this one. It’s not just a plan, it’s a whole story – the story of building a DIY sauna in the backcountry of Canada’s Whistler.
And then there’s the design because this isn’t just any regular sauna. Why would you want to build a regular sauna when you can build a barrel-shaped one?
This is a highly creative sauna plan, and there’s lots of great advice in there about building it, too.
There’s also a video showing how they did it, so if you’re searching for an original sauna design to copy, look no further.
5. Steam Room Build
This is the first video in a two-part series on how to build your own sauna at home.
There isn’t much in the way of explanation, but you do get a time-lapse video of the sauna being built.
It’s worth watching just so you can see the kind of work that’s required to build a DIY sauna – and again, when the sauna starts to take form, the results are highly impressive.
6. Converting a Concrete Outbuilding into a Sauna
This is another plan for converting an existing building into a sauna, this time, a concrete outbuilding. The plan takes you through each part of the building process step by step.
At the beginning, you can see the photos of the semi-derelict hut that was slowly decaying from disuse, and you can follow the progress as it is transformed into a luxurious cozy sauna.
Check out the useful information about building the hearth, cutting the chimney, insulating the ceiling and everything else you need to know. Another plan that’s well worth a look.
7. DIY Russian Banya
In Russia, their version of the sauna is known as the “banya”.
Banyas are an important part of Russian culture, and traditionally, banya users beat themselves and each other with dried bunches of leaves and twigs from birch trees to enhance circulation.
If you want to have a go at building your own Russian banya at home, check out this time-lapse video that shows you how.
The video is quite fast, but it gives you a good idea of how a banya should be constructed.
8. DIY Sauna and Hot Tub
Why settle for a sauna alone when you can enjoy the luxury of a homemade sauna and hot tub combination?
If that sounds almost too good to be true, check out this plan with instructions for how to turn that particular dream into reality.
This is another plan that tells a story at the same time as explaining how you can replicate it at home.
There are loads of useful pictures, and it’s fun watching the construction taking shape. Another one we enjoyed reading.
9. Off the Grid Wood Stove Sauna
If you’re looking for ideas that will help you build your own authentic Finnish-style wood stove sauna, you’ll do well to watch this YouTube video we found for you.
It doesn’t show you how to construct the sauna, but it does show you how it’s operated, so there’s lots of invaluable information that you’ll need when you start thinking about making your own.
We love the demo at the end that shows how quickly it all steams up, too!
10. Cordwood Masonry Sauna
For something sturdy and permanent, here’s a plan that tells you how to build your own cordwood masonry sauna.
The plan begins with the anecdote of how the author discovered what a “true” sauna should consist of, which is then followed by a detailed description of how he went about constructing his own.
This is another plan that’s packed full of tips and insights, and even if you don’t plan to copy his design, there’s plenty you can learn from this that will give you lots of ideas when you work out your own design.
11. Build Your Own Outdoor Sauna
As this plan explains, having a sauna built can cost a lot, so if you want to save yourself a bit of cash – as well as taking on a rewarding DIY challenge – you can try to build one yourself instead.
After all, there’s not much more to a sauna than an insulated building and something to generate heat and steam.
This plan gives you the basics about the stuff you need to consider and also offers lots of other resources that will help you when you start your project. Another plan that’s well worth a look.
12. DIY Outdoors Finnish Sauna
This is a YouTube video plan that gives you all the details you need to construct your own DIY Finnish-style sauna.
The video starts with a detailed list of all the materials you’ll need to build this sauna, and from there, the rest of the video consists of a slideshow documenting its construction.
It has a laidback soundtrack, so you can just relax and watch as the sauna develops from a patch of bare earth to a high-quality installation.
This is a video that is sure to give you the urge to try it yourself at home.
13. Hack Your Bathroom
Here’s a plan from well-known site Lifehacker for how to hack your bathroom and turn it into a sauna.
This is an unusual idea, but if you have a spare bathroom in your home, then why not?
They even go so far as to claim that you can save up to 50% compared to the cost of buying a modular pre-built version.
To be honest, we would have preferred to see a few more photos with the plan, but it’s definitely an idea that’s worth considering.
14. DIY Near-Infrared Sauna
The author of this plan begins by explaining why near-infrared versions are better than infrared saunas in terms of their ability to kill cancer cells, reduce inflammation and help decrease stress levels.
This plan also has the advantage of being very inexpensive to construct compared to some of the others we’ve included and is easy to install just about anywhere.
On the downside, this is pretty far from the original concept of a sauna – but if you want something quick, easy and affordable, this is an option that might appeal.
15. Diy Portable Sauna
If we have to pick a winner for originality, creativity and sheer off-the-wall craziness, this design for a portable sauna that you can tow behind your bicycle is our hands-down champion.
Ok, so this might not be a DIY plan as such – this is really showcasing a model that a Czech design team came up with.
But if you understand the basic concept of a sauna, you have some decent DIY skills and you think owning something like this could be quite cool, there’s nothing to stop you making one of your own.
16. DIY Sauna in the Garden
This video tells an interesting story.
In it, the YouTuber explains that one day he discovered that his garden house was rotting – and as part of the work to save it, he decided to add a sauna at the back.
He gives you all the information you need to make your own as well as plenty of tips that will help when you get started.
Another video anyone planning to build their own sauna needs to watch.
17. Underground Sauna and Pool
On the lookout for something a totally nuts to try? How about an underground sauna and pool?
These guys are true DIYers, building something like this from materials as simple as an old barrel that was lying about.
Perhaps not one to try if you’re claustrophobic, but an intriguing possibility if you like doing things differently.
18. Pod Sauna Assembly Video
While not strictly a DIY plan, we thought we would include this video to give you a few more ideas about what’s possible.
This is the assembly video for a sauna kit you can buy.
However, we thought it was a highly original design, and for the more creative DIYers out there who have the necessary skills, this kind of sauna wouldn’t be impossible to make without the need for the kit.
This is a sauna that would look great anywhere, whether you build it in the wilderness or in a suburban backyard.
19. DIY Sauna Time-lapse
Here’s a fascinating time-lapse video showing you how a homemade sauna was constructed.
It starts with an empty space in the yard, but over the next eight minutes or so, you will see a slideshow as perhaps the most impressive sauna of all the plans we found comes into being.
It looks fantastic, and their attention to detail is incredible. We especially love the changing mood lighting – this sauna is just on another level. Amazing job guys!
20. Panoramic Barrel Sauna
Did you like the design for the barrel sauna in #4?
Well, this one goes one better and incorporates a large observation window, making this a panoramic barrel sauna.
What’s better than sitting in a small room getting hot a sweaty?
Sitting in a small room getting hot and sweaty with a view! If you agree, then this is the plan for you.
21. Outdoor Makeshift Sauna
And to finish, a plan for an impromptu sauna you can just set up and enjoy whenever you need it.
That’s right – for this one, you don’t need to worry about cutting up planks, preparing foundations or building permanent structures.
Just provide heat, water and a cover to throw over it all and you’re good to go. Excellent resourcefulness, we approve!
A range of styles for all skill levels
We love searching for DIY ideas online because it always reminds us how creative people can be. As you can see, there are many options for you to try if you want to build your own sauna at home – and maybe some of these plans can inspire you to try.